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Sukuma Wiki, Sweet Potato Mash & Steak

Lerato Recipes

Enjoy a taste of Africa with these luxuriously whipped sweet potatoes, Swahili inspired braised greens known as Sukuma Wiki and a smoky spiced steak, for quite the feast in less than 30 minutes. Yes please!

The recipe is inspired by different varieties of 'starch' as we call it. A staple of African cooking - I am using sweet potatoes but traditionally you will find locals basing their meals around ground corn, cassava, plantains and more cooked and pounded or mashed, accompanied by seafood or meat and most importantly greens. This is a combination I have enjoyed and seen in its many guises, growing up in Nigeria and travelling across the African continent.

Sukuma Wiki

"Stretch the week" in Swahili


These braised greens known as Sukuma Wiki are incredibly popular across East Africa, especially in Kenya and Tanzania. A dish known for its frugality, and a celebration of abundance of greens in the region. We have it all, from pumpkin leaves, collard greens, amaranth, different varieties of spinach and many more. The locals enjoy the greens with Ugali, a stiff maize porridge, often as a meat free meal with a salad of tomatoes and onions. Or alongside meats or fish. While in Kenya, I have often been fed a simply spiced version of this sauce. My version is also inspired by the Nigerian style of cooking greens - for example with Efo, another braised green dish with amaranth, peppers and chillies. I love to include peppers or chillies and a dash of smoked paprika for that almost inimitable smoky flavour.

Sweet potatoes and a variety of leafy greens are usually available in my home in the UK and so on this occasion, feeling rather tired, not very inspired but really hungry, I put this dish together in under 30 minutes and it was such a treat. I loved using the organic cold pressed avocado oil that features in many of my recipes, for its buttery texture and mildly fruity flavour. You can use butter or cream instead to enrich and thicken your sweet potatoes.

Swap the steak for mushrooms like the meaty king oysters or simple chestnut mushrooms. Thickly sliced, coiled hot and fast in a sizzling pan for a delightful plant-based version. 


Feeds 2 

Cooking time: 20 - 30 minutes 



For the sweet potato mash

2 - 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 fat clove of garlic, grated 

2 tbsp avocado oil

2 tbsp of milk


For the braised greens 

250g Spinach (or substitute with your favourite greens)

2 tbsp avocado oil (or rapeseed, groundnut, olive)

1 small onion, diced

2 red chillies, finely minced

1 small vegetable stock cube 

1 tsp smoked paprika  


For the steak

1 tbsp avocado oil (or your preferred oil)

250g rib eye steak

1 tsp smoked paprika


To serve

2 tbsp avocado oil or butter 

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Nigella Seeds


Lerato's Tips: If using baby spinach, no blanching is needed as they are tender, but when cooking sturdier leafy greens, remove any tough stalks and finely chop what's left to help it cook quickly. If the leaves are sturdy, blanch for about 5 minutes, drain thoroughly and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, as the greens will release li quid back into your dish. You can chop or tear your greens before using them. 


Let’s get cooking! 

1. Place the sweet potatoes in a saucepan filled with cold water, season with sea salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Once cooked, drain in a colander and return the potatoes to the warm pan to steam dry. This will ensure your mash is smooth and silky and not soggy.


2. Meanwhile, to cook the spinach, (mine was a fresh bunch that I had frozen), I rinsed the greens in hot water and drained immediately in a colander, squeezed it dry to remove as much water as possible and roughly chopped it all. See tips above for tending to your greens. 


3. Heat a sauté pan with the 2 tbsp oil and sauté the onions over a medium-high heat until softened and golden. Add the chillies, and then the greens. Crumble in a small stock cube, add the smoked paprika and stir fry the greens for a minute. Pour in 60 ml of water and enjoy that sizzle. Cover and leave to simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes until tender. Sturdier greens may take longer. Season to perfection with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. For the steak, heat a griddle pan or frying pan. Season the steak with crushed sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle oil all over the steak and rub it in. Once the pan is smouldering hot, place the steak in the pan and cook to your liking. Leave to rest for a few minutes and slice.
5. Finally for the sweet potatoes, add the garlic, oil and milk to the pot, season to perfection and mash. For a luxuriously smooth texture, whip with a hand whisk, or a hand mixer, or a stand with the whisk attachment until smooth.
6. Gently heat the avocado oil, then take it off the heat, add the turmeric and mix well to combine. Serve the whipped potatoes with the braised greens and steak. I served this stacked on one large plate as a shared dish for two. You can serve on individual plates if you wish and drizzle the turmeric and avocado oil all over. Finally, sprinkle the Nigella seeds over the potatoes and steak for a flavourful crunch and tuck in!
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